I recently learned about this terrible legal loophole during a painful custody battle. Since the IEP is a legal document, schools are required to comply with the conditions of the IEP; however, the IEP is not a guarantee that a student will achieve all the educational goals targeted. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (formerly called P.L. 94-142 or the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975) requires public schools to make available to all eligible children with disabilities a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their individual needs.
Many parents of children who have extensive needs due to Autism Spectrum Disorder will sue the Board of Ed each year and win using Section 501 (503,504,508) and win the case. Once you win the case, the Board of Ed will allow you to place your child in a school other than public school, and will fund the tuition fees. This is only if the hearing officers rule that the school is a better placement with more appropriate services for your child’s needs, better than the public school that was originally recommended in the IEP. Read about The Wrightslaw Special Education Law
All these laws help give children the best chance at education so that they can reach their full potential. What about parents in denial? What happens when a father or mother claims there is nothing wrong with the child? NOTHING HAPPENS. The Board of Ed cannot sue the parent for educational neglect, but parents are suing the Board every year!
It takes hours and hours to engage a child to use pretend play as a learning tool. The Autism community is split about the controversy surrounding the effectiveness of ABA versus Floortime therapy. It doesn’t matter who has more research and studies. It only matters about the child’s response. If the child is making progress, that’s what you need to care about. Personally, I don’t care if they are reaching new milestones by drinking placebo juice.
Just to explain to you how much work, sweat, and time it takes for an Autism ABA Therapist to teach a child how to use pretend play and turn it into a learning experience, please watch this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrPquD_pdm8
Seeing this, you get the feeling that these kids stand a chance of learning and growing from it. What about children who are denied services because their parents never follow through with the Board of Ed mandate? It’s a crying shame.
In Family Court, you cannot force a custodial parent to commit to the Board of Education’s mandated therapeutic services. Apparently, the ‘big medical professional a.k.a. parent gets to make that decision. How absurd.